Sunday, January 24

The PACN's Grand Jury Abuses -- and More

The Pennsylvania Corruption Network (PACN) uses the grand jury system as a sword and a shield.

By
Ray Blehar 

As mentioned in the PA Corruption Network's Playbook (January 1, 2016), when the PACN feels threatened or that they may be exposed for their own heinous acts, they use the court system to charge others with crimes (deflecting attention away from them).

The cases of the PSU 3 and current PA Attorney General (AG) Kathleen Kane were examples of how the playbook works -- and both cases were instances of using the grand jury system as a sword. 

Conversely, the Sandusky case and some current activities in Centre County show how the PACN uses the grand jury system as a shield.

Secrecy as a Sword

The Kane grand jury leak investigation appears to be the PACN using the system as a sword.

But before explaining that, let's wind back the clock.  

Judge Barry Feudale oversaw the Bonusgate and Sandusky grand juries, while Frank Fina prosecuted the trials.  Both grand juries had issues with leaks to the press, but no "leakers" were ever identified.  And no grand juries were established to investigate the leaks.

The Kane case, however, was an entirely different matter in terms of results.

A grand jury was convened to investigate the leaks.  It moved at lightning speed to quickly find that here was probable cause to charge the AG with contempt for leaking grand jury information, obstruction of justice for orchestrating the leaks, official oppression, perjury (part of the playbook), and false swearing.

However, before the grand jury's conclusions were reached, it was being used a sword by -- of course -- leaking damaging information about Kane to the press.   

In September 2014, the existence of the secret grand jury was reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer's was Angela Couloumbus and Craig McCoy.  The column was heavily biased toward Fina's and other former AG officials version of events, including the recitation of part of an irrelevant email, purported to be smoking gun evidence, sent to Kane by Adrian King.
  
Image result for Philly Inquirer logo

Not so ironically, these are the same reporters who were leaked secret court documents by Judge Barry Feudale

In January 2015, Couloumbus and McCoy again reported of the impending decision by the grand jury to recommend charges of contempt and perjury against Kane.  They were later subpoenaed by Judge Carpenter to testify about the leaks.  The Inquirer stated both would invoke the Shield Law to protect their sources.

Of course, there was no uproar to find out who was leaking to McCoy and Couloumbus -- even though part of the rationale for invoking the Shield Law was because they were exposing the "wrong-doing" of public officials (i.e., Kane).  As if another public official, say Frank Fina of the Philly DA's office or one of his associates there, couldn't have been behind the leaks.

When all was said and done, the investigation by then Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Fetri Vermin found that Kane didn't leak protected grand jury information.

But the damage had already been done to Kane by the PACN's wielding of the grand jury sword.

Secrecy as a Shield


To understand how the PACN uses grand jury secrecy as a shield, the Moulton investigation is instructive.

In 2012, then-AG candidate Kane campaigned that if elected, she would look into the Sandusky matter.   After winning by a landslide, Kane made good on her promise the day she took office.

Given the evidence of Fina'sBaldwin's and Feudale's grand jury chicanery, it's not a stretch to think that they had concerns about what the investigation might uncover.   

As a result, these preemptive strikes followed.

First, in February 2013, Feudale appointed a former AG Corbett appointee, James Reeder, to conduct investigations into the Sandusky leaks and leaks emanating from the grand jury of suspected mobster, Louis A. DeNaples.   It was likely that Feudale did so knowing that Reeder would shield any potentially damaging information from those grand juries from being accessed by the Kane (eventually Moulton) investigation.

Next, in  March 2013, anonymous sources alleged to be former AG attorneys and agents threatened to go public if Moulton's report was overly critical of their investigation or was factually inaccurate.  
 
Moulton Report: Inexplicable delays in obtaining search warrants and identifying victims.
Moulton's Report seemingly went soft on Fina and his cohorts, stating it was within his prosecutorial discretion to use a grand jury to investigate the case.  However, at the press conference announcing the report, Moulton called the delays in obtaining search warrants and other investigative steps to be "inexplicable."

In response, Corbett spokesperson Jay Pagni stated "It was a thorough, thoughtful investigation" that resulted in taking Sandusky off the street. 

But the facts show Corbett was wrong. The investigation wasn't thoughtful or thorough.  The AG's investigation clearly ignored leads that would have taken it to The Second Mile's (TSM) doorstep and to more victims immediately.

According to the evidence in the Moulton Report,  the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) interviewed Aaron Fisher, Steve Turchetta, Central Mountain High School (CMHS) students F.P and F.A, and volunteer wrestling coach Joseph Miller by January 21st, 2009. All of them told the police that Sandusky's connection to children was TSM.   

Due to various jurisdiction issues and conflicts, the case was then transferred from Clinton County, to Centre County, then to Corbett's AG office in March 2009.

On March 17th, DAG Jonelle Eshbach received the PSP report on the case, but after that, no subsequent action occurred until May 1st, when the AG inexplicably recommended the case be taken up by an investigating grand jury (GJ). 

From May 1, 2009 until January 28, 2011, the investigation steered clear of TSM.  On the 28th, it finally issued a subpoena to the charity -- but only for Sandusky's employment and travel records.  

The GJ didn't issue a subpoena for names of TSM participants (children) until March 24th, 2011.  That delay, hypothetically gave TSM officials ample time to dispose of any incriminating evidence, including (possibly) silencing of the most important witnesses.

Given the evidence above, it is highly probable that the AG was avoiding TSM because whatever was going on inside or around it in Centre County had the potential of causing repercussions in Harrisburg -- and possibly other places.  

The Sandusky grand jury investigation ensured the lid stayed on whatever was happening at the charity.

Lock Down In State College

Until the publication of Don Van Natta's "The Whistleblower's Last Stand," little was known about the alleged anonymous email tip that identified Mike McQueary as a possible witness to Sandusky's abuse.  

The ESPN article revealed the tip was allegedly sent to Centre County DA Stacy Parks Miller on November 3, 2010 -- the day after then-AG Tom Corbett won the gubernatorial election.  

Coincidence?  Likely not.

As noted in Ferman Presser: Lies, Contradictions, and Ethics Violations (January 6, 2016), the PACN includes men, women, prosecutors, judges, and political operatives across the state.

Parks Miller had her share of issues of late, including alleged foot-dragging on the sexual abuse investigation of Christopher Leeex parte communications with Judge Bradley Lunsford, and was accused of forging a judge's signature on a court order.    


Fortunately for Parks Miller, the grand jury system bailed her out on the forgery accusation.  On July 31, 2015, whomever the special prosecutor was found there wasn't enough evidence to charge Miller -- and so said the grand jury. 

Just days after the decision, Parks-Miller petitioned to convene an investigating grand jury 
"to consider at least one unsolved murder, and a recent series of other cases the scope of which cannot be determined without the powers granted to a county investigating grand jury."

Parks Miller's petition stated that unsolved disappearances, corrupt organizations, and drug trafficking cases could be assigned to the grand jury.

Few doubt that the unsolved disappearance reference is to former DA Ray Gricar, who disappeared in 2005.

In 2010, then Centre Daily Times reporter, Sara Ganim, wrote that Parks Miller's office would be conducting a review of the case.  Parks Miller related that she was confident the Bellefonte Police Department (BPD) was actively investigating the case. 

Three years later, the PSP announced it was taking over the case from the BPD.   Now it appears the investigation is being taken out of their hands by the actions of Parks Miller and otherwise protected from an investigation by shuttling the case to another grand jury.

But one has to wonder why the Commonwealth didn't do more sooner about the Gricar disappearance.

Network Connections 


When the Sandusky scandal broke, the media connected the April 2005 disappearance of former DA Ray Gricar to "unanswered questions" about why he didn't charge Sandusky in 1998.   

The reason the media couldn't figure it out was because the Sandusky grand jury presentment omitted that the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW) didn't make an abuse finding.  That decision essentially 
precluded Gricar from charging, according to retired PSU Detective Ronald Schreffler.  

It is also notable that the presentment didn't even mention that Centre County Children and Youth Services (CC CYS) was involved in the 1998 investigation.  Contrary to what was written in the  Freeh Report about CC CYS recusing itself from the investigation in early May, it remained involved until May 27th. 

In summary, the Sandusky grand jury presentment (and later, the Freeh Report) was used as a shield to hide the failures of the DPW and CC CYS to protect children from Sandusky.   Conversely, its sword came out when it falsely saddled the PSU police and Ray Gricar with the responsibility of deciding the 1998 case.

But, the PACN may have been doing more than hiding the failures of  child protective services when it put forth the false story about 1998.  It was likely protecting itself.

Corbett didn't put Fina
on the Ray Gricar case

When  Ray Gricar went missing on April 15, 2005, then-AG Tom Corbett didn't seem overly concerned about it. 

Instead of Corbett calling on the PSP, the AG's criminal investigation division, or better yet, forming a task force to investigate the case, he let it stay in the care of the little BPD.  Obviously, the BPD could not marshal the resources that the PSP, AG, or a task force could.

About a year later, on February 28, 2006, Corbett announced the formation of a new Public Corruption Unit, rationalizing its need because Pennsylvania had legalized slots and casinos.  Corbett also noted the legislature formed an independent, elected AG's office in 1978 in order to fight public corruption.

In what now seems like a fox watching the hen house move, Corbett named  Frank Fina to be the chief of the new anti-corruption section. 

Interestingly enough, Fina was the AG's head of the criminal investigation division in 2005.  As Fina has been lauded by the media for his prowess, one has to wonder why Tom Corbett didn't tag him to lead the Gricar investigation.  

It gets better.

Some of the others assigned to the Public Corruption Unit were:

Patrick Blessington and Mark Costanza, two attorneys who would eventually be snared in the "porngate" case;

Jonelle Eshbach, who led the Sandusky investigation and then hot footed it out of town; and, 

James Reeder, who Barry Feudale assigned to investigate the grand jury leak cases related to Sandusky and suspected mobster and casino owner Louis A. DeNaples

As any prosecutor will tell you, too many coincidences are not a good thing for criminal defendants or for targets of conspiracy and corruption investigations.

While the media scoffed at Kane's suggestion that a corrupt "old boy's network" was out to get her, it appears she may have been right.  All that's missing to prove Kane's case that the network has it out for her is the "smoking gun" evidence.  

I'm willing to wager that evidence will be of the email variety.





Coming Up:

About That Oath






16 comments:

  1. Ray - What leaked information about the Sandusky case do you suspect had to have come from the Attorney General's office?

    Sara Ganim's March, 2011, article said she had 5 sources and she named one who worked in victim 1's school district and a "Second Mile Board member." I suspect that victim 1 or his mother could be another source as they were clearly frustrated by the slow pace of the investigation.

    Virtually everything in Ganim's article could have come from victim 1's mother if the OAG kept her updated as to the general progress of the investigation. Would the OAG telling the victim's mother about the investigation be considered a leak or is that allowed?

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    1. Tim,
      The Patriot News admitted that Ganim had the 1998 police report in January 2011. Evidence indicates that they may have had it in September 2010 -- before Ganim was hired. This is one of the key pieces of leaked information that Ganim used to write her story and to track down leads.

      She also used it for later stories about Lauro and Seasock. Transcripts of the interviews of V6 and BK were attached, as well as Chambers report. Notably, the PN's only mention of Chambers' name throughout the scandal was when she was subpoenaed by Amendola. In other stories about Seasock and Lauro, she was referred to as a "female" psychologist.

      Ganim probably talked with five "people with knowledge of the case."

      Raykovitz knew by March 31, 2011 because his wife testified to the GJ on March 10th. She talked to Dawn Daniels in February 2011.

      The remainder may have been OAG leakers. A reliable source informed me that Ganim spent most of her time hanging out in Strawberry Square trying to buttonhole people coming and going (from the grand jury).

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    2. Tim, you should look into Aaron Fisher's book, "A Victim No More." In that book Dawn Daniels claimed thta in Feb 2011 Ganim came knocking on her door unannounced asking for Aaron by name to talk to him about his allegations against Sandusky. This was at a time when Fisher's ID and allegations were supposed to be a stricly kept secret. Daniels was furious and shooed Ganim away without telling her anything. Ganim told Daniels she was going forward with the March 2011 story even without Daniels' involvement or consent. Later on, The HPN chose Ganim for their published book review of the Fisher/Daniels/Gillum book. Interesting choice there. I'm not sure what experience or business Ganim had reviewing books but whatevs. Ganim spent most of her book review article bashing the Fisher camp for bashing her in their book and wrote little else about the book itself. So, it would appear the Fisher family and Ganim aren't all that chummy. If Ganim cited Daniels as a source that would pretty much be nothing more than her padding her stats.

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    3. mhentz - I don't think "Fisher's ID and allegations" were ever a "strictly kept secret" because virtually everyone at his high school knew about it. They knew the famous Sandusky was suddenly gone as assistant football coach in the middle of the season. I imagine State Troopers were at the school talking to faculty and students at the same time as Sandusky's departure.

      Many schools would have sent a notice to parents informing them that a sexual assault allegation by a student against a school official had been made and was under investigation. That is required in some states.

      Ganim had John DiNunzio, the Interim Superintendent of Fisher's school district as a source. I suspect he might have violated the confidentiality policy by giving out the story.

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    4. Ray - If Ganim had such a good source within the OAG, then why would she have "spent most of her time hanging out in Strawberry Square trying to buttonhole people coming and going (from the grand jury)?"

      That's just dogged reporting.

      You may be on to something about the 1998 police report. Yet even that may have been obtained without an OAG leaker. PSU police chief Tom Harmon was worried reporters would come across that file back in 1998 so he deliberately misfiled it as administrative to hide it. Maybe HPN found it anyway. Maybe HPN had a source in the PSU police dept.

      Would it have been illegal for PSU police to give a copy of the 1998 investigation to a reporter? Cynthia Baldwin reportedly got a copy, and she was not law enforcement.

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    5. Tim,
      Ganim's story to the public was that she was out knocking on doors across Central PA. I suspect the only door knocking she did was at Dawn Daniels house. She telephoned V6's mom & BK's mother (first) and wife. V6's & BK's mothers lived in the State College locale.

      Not sure if Ganim was the reporter camped outside of Harmon's house or not. I'd have to go back and check.

      According to CHRIA, the police cannot release investigative files. That is what Kane is charged with orchestrating.

      When Ganim wasn't responding to some tip (leak) from the AG, she was sitting in Strawberry Square. I imagine she got to know the case of characters quite well and it seems to me that Feudale would be the type to think he could get away with leaking information.

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    6. Tim,
      As PSU's legal counsel during an active investigation, I'm sure Baldwin was allowed to have access to criminal files.

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    7. Ray,
      If PSU's general counsel could legally have access to police child abuse investigation files, then why not reporters? I don't see a legal counsel listed as someone allowed to view CYS and DPW child abuse files under PA laws.

      http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/055/chapter3490/s3490.91.html

      PA has strict laws regarding confidentiality of DPW and CYS child abuse case files but that doesn't seem to apply to police files. It seems like a huge loophole that DPW and CYS must keep their files confidential but once the police get the DPW and CYS files, they aren't bound by that confidentiality law.

      Police chief Tom Harmon certainly did not keep the 1998 investigation confidential by sharing it with PSU administrators who were not law enforcement professionals.


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    8. Tim,
      The police file is not an investigative file. The redacted version that was put out by the media would have been inside legal limits. The attached transcripts of interviews with the children, however, would have been off limits.

      It is unclear what was released to Baldwin. Was it just the police report? Or did she get the attachments?

      In closing, note that the attachments were provided to Amendola and Lindsay.

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  2. Another excellent article Ray. I especially agree with your points that show Tom Corbett's lack of urgency in properly investigating Ray Gricar's disappearance/death. Keeping the investigation responsibilities within the Bellefonte Police Dept. for so long is another "inexplicable". Any non-corrupt Attorney General would have had, at least, the state police on it immediately. Not only that, if the FBI and Federal Marshalls can be called in to help find the local Eric Frein in Frank Noonan's active shooter drill distraction, then why didn't Tom Corbett ask for the FBI's assistance in searching for the missing DA Ray Gricar?

    Another question we should ask is, why hasn't the national media run the statement from Graham Spanier's lawyer, "if anyone is guilty of concealment, it's Louis Freeh, not Dr. Spanier". Timothy K. Lewis as Spanier's attorney, was once a federal judge. Do his remarks not carry enough weight to be published on the front page of the Washington Post? Why is the mainstream media protecting Louis Freeh? Is the mainstream media just so deeply involved in covering the crimes of Louis Freeh and our own government that they just can't get off of the treadmill?

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    1. I think Ray Gricar's death was widely believed to be a suicide at the time and that is why the AG didn't get involved.

      I agree that Louis Freeh seems to get special treatment by the press. One example was his car accident for which very few details were released. At the time, it was not reported that his artery was severed, and he nearly bled to death.

      That information was kept from the public for eight months until it was released by the current FBI Director and a Senator. I can't imagine that sort of information being kept secret for so long for a regular accident victim.

      Must be nice having the FBI and U.S. Senate keeping your secrets.

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    2. Yes, I agree that Ray Gricar's death was widely believed to be a suicide at the time. But I disagree that is the reason why AG Tom Corbett didn't investigate it aggressively and properly.

      First we have to ask why it was 'widely believed' that DA Gricar committed suicide when there was no physical evidence to support that notion. And I believe we have the corrupt rags in PA to thank for that. They all made sure to plant that seed about Ray's brother in their editorials and articles causing the public to just accept the suicide theory. And offering a false alternative, they also really played-up the drug kingpin retaliation theory. And of course this suggests foul play, but a sort of faceless and nameless foul play. It implies that we'll never know WHO it was that killed Ray Gricar. So we should just assume drug kingpins killed him or he committed suicide. And I say assume because that is what Tom Corbett did with the help of the corrupt PA press. They fed us assumptions as investigative facts in the place of actual extensive investigations. This gave us all the seeds to assume and be done with it. Not many people asked more questions as a decade passed because they trusted the media and their Attorney General. We were given only two choices--a false dichotomy--suicide or a drug kingpin retaliation murder. But who else and what else could explain Ray's disappearance if we think outside the Corbett media propaganda box? Was Ray "disappeared" by the now-exposed corrupt PA government that he worked for? Well the police could never and would never investigate that angle now, would they? And the media initially didn't suggest that angle either. It took a decade of citizens investigating Sandusky and the possible link to Gricar's disappearance before the corrupt press would even mention it.

      So, as we're finding out, the PA media, most of the PA government, and a good portion of our national news is working with the PACN to conceal their dirty deeds.

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    3. Truthseeker,
      Thanks for your commentary.

      I agree with you that the Gricar case stands in sharp contrast to the Eric Frain case.

      Also, from growing up in the mountains in the middle of PA, I recall the "manhunt" involved for the man who abducted Peggy Ann Bradnick was the biggest in PA history (up to that point) and involved the FBI and state police.

      Peggy Ann Bradnick was a 17 year old girl from Shade Gap, PA....not a DA. So, something was up with the government's response to Gricar's disappearance.

      A gentleman named Brett Faulds wrote a book on Gricar. He termed what happened as a "run-away" (not a "walk-away"). In other words, Gricar feared for his life. I haven't read the book, but based on what I'm seeing in PA, I think Faulds may have gotten it right.

      There are some interesting circumstances in Centre County and elsewhere that I will write about soon that might help explain what the PACN might be up to.

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    4. Tim,
      Agree on Freeh. He must be very well connected for no one in the media to go after him.

      Perhaps the Spanier defamation case and the BP case will finally expose that fraud.

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  3. USA Today's story on the revelation that Freeh severed an artery in his leg and nearly bled to death in his car accident also contained an odd line,

    "The officials never directly addressed a question about Freeh's losing a leg."

    That question could have been dismissed with a simple "no' if he hadn't lost his leg. So perhaps they are still keeping the secret that Freeh lost his leg.

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    1. Interesting, USA Today and Fortune Magazine seem to be two of Freeh's propaganda publications. They both try to puff him up as a man of intrigue and mystery. And they both usually run articles portraying him as "honorable".

      As far as the possible leg injury, could it be God's metaphor showing us Louis Freeh won't have a leg to stand on when he finally gets dragged into court by Spanier? Well whatever Freeh's actual condition, we should all wish him well with a speedy recovery. Because, he can now begin to stand trial for all of his crimes against innocent people all over the world. It would be nice to at least have the courts convict him of evidence tampering in the case of the PSU 3.

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